Although Pamplona is a medium size city with a metropolitan area population of over 300,000, it is known for primarily one thing—the running of the bulls in July of each year.
Pamplona is the historical capital of Navarre and considered Basque but has a separate government structure from the other three Basque provinces. On the other side of the Pyrenees, there are separate French Basque provinces.
Images of bulls are everywhere in town.
Another rainy day as we walked around town, here in front of the Pamplona City Hall.
There was no shortage of food and we took note as we walked around town on the brief tour before lunch.
Statue of St. Fermin, a 3rd century martyr for Christianity. The running of the bulls takes place during the Festival of St. Fermin; prayers are said by runners at this statue before the race begins.
The Museum of Navarre in the background is in an old pilgrim's hospital dating from the 16th century. The bulls run on the street down below.
Sign detailing the prayer to St. Fermin, repeated three times before the race begins.
Imagine thousands of humans followed by running bulls behind them coming up this street. The race is held on several mornings during the July festival week. The course is about a thousand meters long, six bulls participate each time and about 2,500 humans. Up to 100 persons are injured every year and, over time, fifteen people have been killed.
Pamplona is also on one of the pilgrim's routes on the way to Santiago. Here is the familiar marker in the pavement.
We spotted a pilgrim on his journey.
It was getting near lunchtime and the rain let up so we began to look for a restaurant.
We looked at this place perhaps named after the rocket shot at the start of the race, but decided to move on looking for a spot with a Hemingway connection.
Hemingway made Pamplona famous with his book, "The Sun Also Rises."
The race ends here at the bullring. The run lasts about 2 and 1/2 minutes.
We eventually ended up at the Plaza del Castillo and looked for a place for lunch.
We settled on the Bar Txoko where Hemingway supposedly spent a good deal of time in 1959 although it probably looks a good deal different than in his day.
Bulls were everywhere in the restaurant, even in the restrooms.
Note the Hemingway reference on the sign..
Another view of the Plaza del Castillo, a little wet on this day.
After walking around after lunch we took a rest break at the Gran Hotel La Perla in the square. It too was frequented by Hemingway although it probably has been upscaled a bit. This elevator cab from his hotel was in the lobby.
We encountered these beautiful doors as we walked around the square.
Elsewhere in town, there is this monument to the running of the bulls lending special poignancy to those injured or killed.
The Palace of Navarre, the seat of the regional government.
It's hard to tell from this photo but this tree near the palace was absolutely huge. Our tour of Pamplona completed, it was now time to head to Bielsa for the night.